Brown: Callaway’s In-Game Blunders Costing Mets Too Many Games

Mickey Callaway
Photo credit USA TODAY Images

Mickey Callaway has been nothing short of a bad in-game manager. We knew there might be some trouble brewing when Callaway somehow had the Mets bat out of order in Cincinnati last season. That’s Little League kind of stuff. Callaway’s decision-making in games this season has been impossible at times to understand. It’s almost as if he’s trying to make himself part of the game more than he should be.

There have been times he’s left the starter in too long (rare). There have been more times he pulled the starter early. There have been times he’s pinch-hit and double-switched for guys where it made absolutely no sense. There have been non-stop excuses made after games for his poor decisions. Finally, on Tuesday night after an embarrassing 9-3 loss in extra innings, he admitted he wished he could have the decision back of pulling Noah Syndergaard with two outs in the 7th inning. Luckily, the Mets won Thursday, but pinch-hitting for the pitcher with Carlos Gomez just to bunt, and then pinch-hitting for Amed Rosario and Dom Smith right after that (who both homered earlier) when you have a short bench without Robinson Cano was a move you may never see a manager do again in baseball history. It was that nonsensical. Thankfully, the Giants are an atrocious team and the Mets' bats ended up winning it with a four-run 8th inning.

Remember too, the Mets are just three games back in the Wild Card and five games back in the NL East at 30-32, so if a few of these outcomes are different, this would be a team in position to potentially make the playoffs.

The Mets have lost 11 of their 32 games by just one run, and six more games by two runs. More than half of their losses are by two runs or less, which means Callaway’s impact on the game could change the course of a season.

Let’s go through some of the games this season where Callaway got a little too cute, potentially turning wins into losses.

Tuesday 6/4: 9-3 loss in 10 innings vs. Giants

-Pulled Noah Syndergaard with 2 outs in the 7th inning with a 3-2 lead (who was cruising), brings Seth Lugo in with runner on 1st … Lugo blows the lead, Mets get embarrassed in extras, giving up 6 runs in the 10th.

-Syndergaard (who once backed Callaway to the media publicly) clearly mouthed “moron” and adamantly told Mickey to let him get the last out when he came to take the ball … he did not.

Saturday 6/1: 6-5 loss @ Diamondbacks in 11 innings

-Mets blow a 5-1 lead in the 8th inning and lose 6-5 in 11 … 5-3 with 1 out in 8th after Jeurys Familia gives up 2 runs, Callaway elects to use the overworked Robert Gsellman instead of using Edwin Diaz for a five-out save.

-Callaway uses Diaz in a tie game in the 9th with two outs and he stays in for four outs anyway.

Why would you elect to not use Diaz when you’re up two runs in the 8th for five outs, but then turn around and use him for four outs in the 9th and 10th? It’s just simply idiotic not to have him come in the game in the 8th and try and shut the door.

Thursday 5/29 @ Dodgers: Mets blow 8-5 lead in 9th, lose 9-8

-Diaz clearly did not have it and was used the night before with a four-run lead for absolutely no reason, and probably was gassed.

-Callaway had nobody warming up and didn’t even think about pulling Diaz who was getting absolutely tattooed and couldn’t get an out.

-Mets end up losing a game where everything was going right offensively.

(5/25/19 - won in extras vs. Tigers, but Callaway double switches Diaz into the game by taking out Alonso, only has Diaz get 1 out instead of pitching the 9th, luckily Tigers are awful and Mets win on Nido walk-off homer).

Swept by Marlins (5/17-5/19) - nothing else to share here except embarrassment.

Tyler Bashlor was Callaway’s go-to reliever in big spots in tie games or with a lead … it never ended well.

6/1 @ D-Backs: Bashlor comes in a tie game in extras and loses game 6-5.

5/27 @ Dodgers: Mets up 3-2 for deGrom, Bashlor comes in and gives up three runs in 6th to blow it, recorded just one out, Mets lose 9-5.

5/8 @ Padres: Bashlor gives up a go-ahead homer in 7th in a tie game.

You get it. The list goes on and on. Sure, the bullpen has some holes and there are injuries the team has been dealing with, but it’s in these situations when you need your manager to push the right buttons. Callaway has more often than not pushed the wrong ones.

The Mets don’t have a game against a team under .500 until they play the Marlins after the All-Star break. That’s exactly a month of tough games, including series with the Phillies and Braves, who they are chasing in the NL East and Wild Card race. With a third of their losses coming by a run, Callaway has to find a way to win close games. He’s lucky to still have a job at this point, and his seat should continue to be hot going into this difficult stretch ahead.

It’s hard to have too much faith in this team when the guy running the show has never done it before. When the team fails, he doesn’t know what to do and where to go. The hope is that guys coming back from injuries will start to turn the ship in the right direction, but in the end, Callaway’s mistakes could be the demise of the 2019 Mets.

If I missed anything, tweet me @JakeBrownRadio.